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Ombudsman absolves Aquino, Trillanes of treason charges

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, June 19th, 2017

 

Courtesy: Photoville International

Courtesy: Photoville International/ Willie Sy

 

MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman has absolved former president Benigno Aquino III and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of the treason and espionage charges filed against the two.

The said criminal complaints are relative to the alleged backchannel talks with China during the past administration over the tension in the West Philippine Sea due to disputed territories.

Through the 16-page resolution, the ombudsman said, no probable cause was found to prove the treason and espionage complaints.

The Ombudsman has explained that despite the territorial disputes, there is no war between the Philippines and China, therefore, no treason has been committed. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang downplays China’s naming of some underwater features in Philippine Rise

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang clarified that China’s naming of some undersea features in the Philippine Rise is not a violation of the Philippines’ sovereign rights over it.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that China’s naming of the said features is a scientific process and it does not mean that China is owning them.

Roque underscored that the Philippines will also not recognize the Chinese names.

“Kinikilala ng China na wala silang kahit anong karapatan sa Benham Rise at kinikilala nila ang sovereign rights natin sa Benham Rise,” said the official.

(China recognizes that they have no rights over the Benham Rise but respects our sovereign rights on it. Only Filipinos now are allowed to use the resources there and conduct scientific research. We already have funds and the Filipino scientists will use the fund.)

Malacañang reiterated that there is nothing to worry about the action of China on the Philippine Rise.

Even Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuan has earlier said that China respects the rights of the Philippines over the Philippine Rise and insists that the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) permitted the “naming.”

“China respects the Philippines’ relevant rights to Benham Rise. At the same time, we hope the relevant party can take a professional and responsible view of relevant continuing work,” said China foreign ministry spokesman to Reuters.

Malacañang said that the government will give names to the underwater features.

“Ito ay na-award sa Pilipinas. Kahit anong sabihin ng China, maglalagay din tayong Pilipinong pangalan diyan. Kung ano man ang tawagin ng mga Tsino doon sa water features nuon, babalewalain na rin natin,” said the presidential spokesperson.

(This is awarded to the Philippines. Whatever China says, we will also give Filipino names. Whatever names China gave to the water features, we will not recognize it.) — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Malacañang lauds CA’s decision to halt suspension order of Ombudsman vs ERC commissioners

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Court of Appeals (CA) stops the 60-day suspension of ERC commissioners: Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang supports the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in implementing the one-year suspension against Energy Regulatory Commission commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Asirit, and Geronimo Sta Ana.

According to the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the TRO issued is founded on extreme necessity.

Roque also said that if the TRO did not happen, the suspension order will seriously paralyze the ERC and will cause the economy to suffer grave damage.

Because of this, the Office of the President calls the court decision “a step in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, the Power for People Coalition contested the decision of the CA before the Senate during a committee hearing on ERC.

The group said that greater public interest and service should always be upheld even if it means suspension of public officials and temporarily disrupting operations of some certain bodies such as ERC.

It also said that the CA should look into the coal mining industry to realize the irreparable damage it causes to its affected areas.

In the end, the group insisted that the four commissioners should honor the suspension order of the ombudsman and leave the Meralco contracts untouched. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Chinese paper says UK trying to grab attention with South China Sea mission

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015.
REUTERS/U.S. NAVY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) – Britain’s Defence Ministry is trying to justify its existence and grab attention with a planned mission by a British warship to the disputed South China Sea next month, a Chinese newspaper said on Wednesday.

A British warship will sail through the South China Sea to assert freedom-of-navigation rights, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said in remarks published on Tuesday during a visit to Australia.

British officials first flagged the voyage six months ago and the journey is likely to stoke tensions with China, who claim control of most of the area and have built military facilities on land features in the sea.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to the energy-rich sea through which billions of dollars in trade pass each year.

The widely read state-run tabloid the Global Times said Williamson needed to state clearly the purpose of the mission.

“If not provocation, the Royal Navy should behave modestly when passing through the South China Sea,” it said in editorials published in its English and Chinese-language editions.

“By acting tough against China, Britain’s Ministry of Defence is trying to validate its existence and grab attention,” it said.

The paper wondered whether the Royal Navy could actually complete the trip, considering budget cuts and problems with a new aircraft carrier that has a leak.

“As the Royal Navy has been hit by news such as a leaky aircraft carrier and the UK government has a tight budget, it appears a difficult mission for the Royal Navy to come all this way to provoke China,” it wrote.

China has repeatedly accused countries outside the region – generally a reference to the United States and Japan – of trying to provoke trouble in the South China Sea while China and its neighbors are trying to resolve the matter through diplomacy.

Speaking of Britain’s plan, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it hoped “relevant sides don’t try to create trouble out of nothing”.

Britain, which will be leaving the European Union next year, has looked to China as one of the countries it wants to sign a free trade deal with once it leaves the bloc. British Prime Minister Theresa May ended a largely successful trip to China earlier this month.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

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